> If you can't think of at least fifty other ways in which you
> could hurt people for your own gain, you're just not thinking
> hard enough.
A fair criticism, perhaps, but I still think the naive arguments against egoism aren't thinking hard enough or long-term enough in many cases: most of the arguments just blindly assume that if one commits a crime and is not caught, then there are no negative consequences to that act. That's just not true. There are consequences to living your life with a set of principles, and consequences to violating those principles, and not just to one's self-esteem or confidence in those principles, but in the real world.
Theft, for example, _always_ has the long-term consequence of allocating the resources of society inefficiently in the long run, which eventually impacts my potential for wealth. Even if I silently embezzled a few dollars from some billion-dollar corporation who never notices, that's a few dollars that they did not use their proven acumen to invest; perhaps a small project that didn't get funded that may have created a small product that I might have used to gain more wealth than the dollars I stole.
Any physical act of force is the same: even if I am never punished for the act, I have prevented someone from using the full potential of their will to do things that may benefit me in the long run. Every human being is a potential trader, and _any_ act I do to any human being affects their potential for future trade with me, so I have still never found any example of a crime without consequences. The arguments so far shown against egoism simply assume the existence of such a crime without proof.
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <email@example.com>